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Active and Upbeat Following A Fib Surgery

Nancy Bailey In Content ImageAt an early age, Nancy Bailey learned that if she got sick or injured, she should treat it as no big deal. “Mom was a nurse. Very matter-of-fact. Her mantra was ‘don’t worry, you’ll be fine.’” Like the time Nancy had a too-close encounter with a moving car while riding her bike. “My mom told me to put some ice on it. I’d be okay.” An x-ray the next day revealed a broken knee cap! 

So, in 2014 when Nancy started having episodes that felt like her heart was racing, she remembered what she’d been taught. “At first I would wonder if I was going to faint. Then the feeling would quickly pass so I’d forget about it.” But the fluttery feeling kept happening again and again. She could be gardening, having lunch with friends, or driving to work. “I might be doing something strenuous or just reading a book. I’d get that sensation in my chest, and then it would quickly go away.” 

A stronger-than-usual episode while at her job in Troy was a wake-up call. “It lasted longer than the others. I held onto my desk waiting for it to pass. It scared me,” she recalled. She headed straight to Upper Valley Medical Center’s Emergency Department where tests indicated atrial fibrillation (A Fib), an irregular heartbeat that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally. For the next month, Nancy wore a monitor. “It showed I was having many more episodes than I realized,” she said. 

Nancy learned that A Fib places patients at high risk for stroke. Her cardiologist Kevin Kravitz, MD, explained that blood thinners typically are prescribed to reduce A Fib’s risk of a blood clot and subsequent stroke. “But like many A Fib patients, Nancy has a blood disorder that prevents her from safely taking blood thinners,” he explained. She needed a different option.

A device called the Watchman™ now provides an alternative to blood thinners for Nancy and other A Fib patients like her. About the size of a quarter, the device is inserted into a small pocket in the left side of the heart called the atrial appendage. It’s like a plug that prevents blood from pooling there and forming clots. “Outcomes have been excellent!” said Dr. Kravitz who has implanted dozens of the devices. 

Since her surgery to implant the device in September 2016, Nancy has peace-of-mind in the knowledge that her risk of stroke is significantly reduced. Medications keep her A Fib under control by regulating her heart rate and rhythm. “I still get that familiar fluttering every few months, but I don’t let it bother me.”

At 69, she is upbeat and busy, enjoying yardwork, quilting, and baking. Now retired, she continues to surprise her former coworkers with baked goodies from time to time. “They hated to see me retire for that reason,” she laughed. And she’s making travel plans, including visits to family and friends in Finland and Wales.

“I don’t let the A Fib slow me down,” Nancy said. “Just like mom taught me!”

Don't Give Your Heart to Just Anyone. Trust Premier Health.

Improving the quality of your life is at the heart of what we do. Premier Health hospitals are proud to provide a wide spectrum of heart and vascular services across Southwest Ohio. We offer compassionate, award-winning care designed for positive patient outcomes – with fewer complications, shorter recoveries and long-lasting benefits. We welcome patients seeking second opinions about their heart and vascular treatment options.

If you or a loved one would like more information about cardiovascular programs offered at Premier Health facilities, call (937) 499-7427(937) 499-7427.

Content Updated: January 22, 2019

These Upper Valley Medical Center locations offer Cardiology Services.
Cardiology and Vascular Services at Upper Valley Medical Center
3130 N. County Rd. 25A Troy, OH  45373
Outpatient Cardiac Testing and Rehabilitation at Upper Valley Medical Center
3130 N. County Rd. 25A Troy, OH  45373
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